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In the Graphic Design program at Pickens Technical College, you’re learning not only what it takes to design killer graphics for business or art purposes, but you’re also learning a bit of website design, illustration, and print layout. That means when you’re done with Pickens, you’ll be able to take on a wide variety of projects, including those that don’t necessarily directly relate to the concepts you’ve learned in class. When you start your new job as a graphic designer, you should ‘lean in’ to projects that stretch your abilities and test your patience. Why? Not only does it build character (that’s my father talking), it makes you a valuable asset to present and future employers.

Taking on extra responsibility is never easy nor stress-free. You’ll feel likely to fail, and you’ll envision yourself being a fool in front of all your new co-workers. Obviously, every work environment is different, and if you think there’s a real risk in stretching your abilities or you feel overwhelmed with the work you’re explicitly asked to do, there’s little incentive for you to find new tasks. In most work environments, however, managers are looking for leaders, for people who will take risks and strive to make themselves more valuable to the company and improve the business. That can be you.

You’re Stronger Than You Think

After your time at Pickens, you’ll be ready to handle more tasks than you think. A former editor of a college newspaper at Kansas State University, Kyle Hampel, wrote in his farewell article before he graduated that his experience working in seven different capacities for the paper made him more well-rounded and ready to start chipping away at his likely-massive student loan balance.

Hampel is an English major, and his duties for the college paper included writing jobs like producing news reports and opinion columns. But he was also involved at one point in the design of the newspaper-the paper’s layout and online design. Hampel writes in his farewell article that he, despite his experience as a page designer and eventual rise to design chief, won’t be working as a graphic designer, but he says the skills he built by taking on extra responsibility he wasn’t sure he was ready for have taught him a valuable lesson: “If you’re good at something, find a way to use your skills (and maybe get paid for it, too).” He wouldn’t have known he had those skills if he didn’t try to design a page.

Building Skills

In addition to the skills you’re developing in Pickens’ Graphic Design class, you’ll likely have the opportunity to build other competencies elsewhere. Don’t hesitate to stretch your skills to other areas. Before long, you’ll have built up a set of secondary skills that inform and improve your main graphic design talent. Employers will be lining up to hire a multi-talented graphic designer who’s not afraid to take on additional tasks and test their competency.